Indiana’s most current approved HIP waiver includes a work requirement that will affect approximately 95,000 enrollees. The work requirement will be phased in beginning in 2019.
Ahead of the Midterms, Voters across Parties See Costs as their Top Health Care Concern
At a time when the Trump Administration is encouraging state efforts to revamp their Medicaid programs through waivers, the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds the public splits on whether the reason behind proposals to impose work requirements on some low-income Medicaid beneficiaries is to lift people out of poverty or to reduce spending.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January provided new guidance to states and has since approved such waivers in two states (Kentucky and Indiana). Eight other states have pending requests
When asked the goal of work requirements, four in 10 (41%) say it is to reduce government spending by limiting the people enrolled in the program, while a third (33%) say it is to lift people out of poverty as proponents say.
While larger shares of Democrats and independents say the reason is to cut costs, Republicans are more divided, with roughly equal shares saying it is to lift people out of poverty (42%) as to reduce government spending (40%). People living in the 10 states that have approved or pending work requirement waivers are similarly divided, with near-equal shares saying the goal is to lift people out of poverty (37%) as to reduce government spending (36%). This holds true even when controlling for other demographic variables including party identification and income.
In addition to work requirements, five states are currently seeking Medicaid waivers to impose lifetime limits on the benefits that non-disabled adults could receive under the Medicaid program. The poll finds the public skeptical of such a shift, with two thirds (66%) saying Medicaid should be available to low-income people as long as they qualify, twice the share (33%) as say it should only provide temporary help for a limited time.
Substantial majorities of Democrats (84%) and independents (64%) say Medicaid should be available without lifetime limits, while Republicans are divided with similar shares favoring time limits (51%) and opposing them (47%).
These views may reflect people’s personal experiences with Medicaid and the generally positive views the public has toward the current program, which provides health coverage and long-term care to tens of millions of low-income adults and children nationally.
Seven in 10 Americans report a personal connection to Medicaid at some point in their lives – either directly through their own health insurance coverage (32%) or their child being covered (9%), or indirectly through a friend or other family member (29%).
Three in four (74%) hold favorable views of Medicaid, including significant majorities of Democrats (83%), independents (74%) and Republicans (65%). About half (52%) of the public say the current Medicaid program is working well for low-income enrollees, while about a third (32%) say it is not working well.
Most Residents of Non-Expansion States Favor Medicaid Expansion to Cover More Low-Income People
Under the Affordable Care Act, most states expanded their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income adults. In the 18 states that have not done so, a majority (56%) say that their state should expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults, while nearly four in 10 (37%) say their state should keep Medicaid as it is today.
Slightly more than half of Republicans living in the 18 non-expansion states (all of which have either Republican governors, Republican-controlled legislatures or both) say their state should keep Medicaid as it is today (54%) while four in 10 (39%) say their state should expand their Medicaid program.